Joe Fisher poses on the Ambassador Bridge in March 1930, just months after the crossing between Detroit and Windsor opened. 

Featured image courtesy of Leonard N. Simons Jewish Community Archives, Pevin Family Papers

While searching past July issues of the JN and the Detroit Jewish Chronicle in the William Davidson Digital Archive of Jewish Detroit History for topics for this week’s column, I found an item that speaks to an anniversary. On July 13, it will be 68 years since the Detroit Jewish Chronicle was purchased by Philip Slomovitz and merged with his Detroit Jewish News. This ended a nine-year period when Detroit had two English-language weekly Jewish newspapers.

The Chronicle was first published on March 3, 1916. It was only eight pages. Under the banner on the first page, it read: “The only Jewish Publication in the State of Michigan Devoted to the Interests of the Jewish People.” In an era where Detroit had multiple newspapers in German, Polish and other languages, this was indeed the only Jewish newspaper in town.

The first issue is interesting. The front page featured a photo of the “Jewish Institute” (To Help the Poor Help Themselves) and a poem, “True Jewish Faith.” Inside, the initial editorial cited the need for a Jewish publication in Detroit, and the fact that the city’s Jewish community lagged behind that of other cities across the country, all of which could “boast of the possession of some medium for the utterance of its collective sentiment.” It also stated that the Chronicle would never be “the ally of any single faction among our people.”

On March 27, 1942, the first issue of the Detroit Jewish News was published. The Chronicle continued publishing until 1951, when it merged with the JN. It was the end of an era, but not the end of a Jewish newspaper in Detroit.

Since 1916, for the last 103 years, until this day, Detroit’s Jews have had their own medium. Today, it is the JN that publishes the “utterances” of the community. But, its ancestor, the Detroit Jewish Chronicle, is preserved and can still be read in the Davidson Digital Archive.

Want to learn more? Go to the DJN Foundation archives, available for free at www.djnfoundation.org

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